NASA has unveiled an “out of this world” futuristic Mars rover concept vehicle to inspire young people to want to learn more about its plans to send humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s.
While this exact rover is not expected to operate on Mars, one or more of its elements could make its way into a rover that astronauts will drive on the Red Planet, NASA scientists wrote in a blog post this week.
The rover, unveiled at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, was built by Parker Brothers Concepts of Port Canaveral, Florida, incorporating input into its design from NASA subject matter experts.
The rover operates on an electric motor, powered by solar panels and a 700-volt battery. The rover separates in the middle with the front area designed for scouting and equipped with a radio and navigation provided by the Global Positioning System.
The back section serves as a laboratory which can disconnect for autonomous research.
Following several weeks on display at Kennedy’s visitor complex, the Mars rover concept vehicle will be displayed at several locations, NASA said.
From July to August, it will be displayed at several locations during a tour along the East Coast.
The Mars rover concept vehicle will return to the visitor complex to be part of the new Astronaut Training Experience attraction opening in the autumn of this year, said Rebecca Shireman of the Kennedy visitor complex.
NASA’s next robotic Mars rover is set to land on the Red Planet in 2020. The Mars 2020 rover will search for signs of past microbial life and collect core samples for a potentially future return to Earth.